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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Marion Wright, March 8, 1978. Interview B-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Concern for maintaining the Council's nonpartisan stance

Wright continues his discussion of the SRC's concern with positioning itself as a nonpartisan organization. He worried about maintaining the Council's tax-exempt status as well as its standing among white southerners.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Marion Wright, March 8, 1978. Interview B-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there not a sense within the group itself that you should or shouldn't do certain things because that would hurt your standing with the foundations or help your standing with the foundations? That kind of indirect . . .
MARION WRIGHT:
I think the only thing that would have occurred would be that we may be jeopardizing, say, the Fund for the Republic's tax-exempt status. If they continue to give a grant to an organization which admittedly is engaged in political activity, their own status is involved. So if we got out and advocated political causes, their tax exempt status would be imperiled. We had wanted time and again to urge "Vote for So-and-so" or "Vote for a certain bill"; you couldn't even do that. There was a fine line there about the bills that I won't go into, but while we wanted to do it, I think we followed the correct course of trying to keep the intelligence of the South on our side, saying, "This is a worthwhile organization. It's doing a good job. We have faith in it," and continue to get moral backing You had to pay your staff that has to implement these things. But I never dreamed of any foundation that contributed to us trying to influence our policy. Now you made reports to them; they knew exactly what you were doing. But so far as I know, I've never had one of them come in and say, "Now here, you ought to be doing this," or "You shouldn't be doing that."